Plus-size party promoter Joe Walters, 40, explains why big girls are the best
I've held the same job for the past 20 years, throwing Goddesses Big Beautiful Women parties, a weekly event for plus-size ladies and the men who love them. Everything a regular club does, we do bigger—literally. My mom, a full-figured lady, started planning and hosting them when I was a teenager, and around 1988 I joined in on the fun.
Unlike some New York clubs, we don't have celebs stopping through to pop bottles or dance on tables. But we don't need big names to have a good time—just big women. Each Saturday about 200 curvy ladies and interested suitors pay $20 to mix and mingle all night at Giovanni's Atrium in New York City. I provide a space where plus-size women can feel sexy and accepted, which is rare for many big women. There are clubs where plus-size ladies are told no by bouncers at the door. If they do get inside, they may be made fun of or are unsuccessful at meeting men. But when big women get inside my soirees, they get a lot of love. I've had small women come and leave upset because they were looking to meet a man, and the guys weren't interested in them.
At Goddesses parties, we go just as hard as skinny people. But just because we celebrate big women doesn't mean that all the ladies are comfortable with their weight. Sometimes I take pictures and a woman will complain, "I look fat." I remind her, "Fat is not a four-letter word. We're allowed to look fat." Many women aren't used to that level of acceptance. After they attend, some ladies say to me, "I'm happy I found you guys; you make me feel good. I wasn't feeling attractive before." They realize how sexy they are when they come to the parties, especially when a man approaches them and buys them drinks. I've seen transformations take place. They dress conservatively the first time they stop by, and over the next few weeks to months they start to show a little more leg and cleavage. Here they can wear the things they've always wanted to put on, such as miniskirts, halter tops and high heels. The guys—me included—love it.
My ex-wife, to whom I was married for eight years, was a size 18. After we met, I was attracted to her personality and intelligence, but it was her booty that first got my attention across the room. As much as I'm drawn to the big ladies at my functions, I make it a point not to play where I work. I get hit on a lot and I flirt back, of course. But if I'm asked, "When can we go out?" I politely turn down the offer.
I might be off-limits, but there are plenty of other options—most are regular-size Black, Latino or Middle Eastern men—to keep the ladies entertained. A few guys come assuming big girls are easy prey. That's not the case. Every woman has her own code of conduct: Some have the three-month rule; some have the three-date rule. A few women have met their husbands at our affairs. I get invited to two or three weddings a year by customers. People come out to have a good time, but many end up making that kind of connection we're all looking for—regardless of size.